Preventing an Overdose

Mixing Opioids and Other Substances

The current risk of using opioids (including MAT opioid agonist and partial agonist medications) with any form of Central Nervous System Depressants increases the risk of an overdose incident. Taking both substances result in dangerous side effects such as decreased respiration and heart rate can lead to coma, cardiac arrest and death. Due to the potentially life-threatening side-effects, individuals should consult with both prescribing physicians about using both medications. Neither should be withheld from the individual due to the use of the other medication.

Benzodiazepines: Alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), chlorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), and clobazam (Onfi).

Sleep Aids (Non-Benzodiazepine Hypotics): Zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zaleplon (Sonata).

Muscle Relaxants: Baclofen, Carisoprodol (Soma) and Dantrolene (Dantrium).

Alcohol: Alcohol is a nervous system depressant; taking it with opioids (including MAT opioid agonist and partial agonist medications) can lead to dangerous complications, including respiratory problems, low blood pressure, a weak heart rate, and coma. Taking both opioids and alcohol at the same time can also increase the risk of an overdose.

Naloxone 101

Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdose. Naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose then allows the individual to breathe normally once administered. Depending on the medication form, naloxone can be injected in the muscle (intramuscular) and/or sprayed into the nose (intranasal). Naloxone has no potential for abuse.

3 forms of naloxone and ways to administer:

  1. Syringe form (Intramuscular or IM): Injecting into the muscle of the upper thigh or upper arm.
  2. Nasal spray form (Intranasal or IN): Spraying the medication into the nose.
  3. Auto Injector Form (Intramuscular or IM): A pre-filled dose of naloxone that is administered by retractable needle. Medication is administered when device is pressed against a person’s upper leg. The device also has a voice recording that tells you step by step how to administer the medication.
    (Note: Be sure to push hard until you hear the voice again when the device is placed on the person’s thigh.)

How to Obtain Naloxone

The Director of Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) issued a standing order on November 11, 2017 that allows any Arizona-licensed pharmacist to dispense one of the three forms of naloxone to any individual without a prescription. Arizonans can pick up naloxone at all pharmacy locations across the state.